Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to return power with historic mandate, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweeping over 300 seats on its own.

Modi is set to become only the third Prime Minister in India and the first non-Congress leader to be elected for a second consecutive time after completing a five-year term.

Addressing supporters at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday, the PM thanked the people of India and BJP workers in his victory speech

“We went to the people of the country for a new mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha. Today we can see that the crores of people in the country have filled the sack of this fakir,” he said amid ‘Modi-Modi’ chants.

“Since the country got independence, so many elections took place, but the maximum voting took place in this election, and that too in 40-42 degree temperature,” he said.

“I have been saying that this election is being fought by the people, not a leader, or a party or a candidate. If anyone has won, it is democracy, the people,” he added.

Referring to the Mahabharata, the PM said that the mandate reflects that the people did what Lord Krishna said in the great epic.

“After the Mahabharata war, Sri Krishna was asked who he sided with. The response that Krishna gave then is what the people gave today. He had then said that he was not on anyone’s side but on the side of Hastinapur. The 130 crore people of India stood with India and voted in favour of India,” he said.

The PM also took a jibe at opposition parties for playing the secularism card. “They could not fool the people with their masks of secularism, they could not play the inflation card, they could not make an issue by accusing us of corruption,” the PM said.

The PM said that there are only two ‘castes’ in this country – one who is poor and one who works to bring people out of poverty. Modi said that the BJP will have to work towards empowering the poor and strengthen those who want to eliminate poverty.

He also expressed sympathies to the families of party workers who lost their lives or were injured “for the sake of democracy”. He credited the people of the country – including farmers, homeless, middle class and women – for the victory.

“I assure the people of the country that I will not do anything with a bad intent. There can be a mistake in work but I will not do anything with a bad intent. I will not do anything for myself. I will devote every part of my body to the service of the people of the country,” Modi asserted, asking the people to hold him accountable on the three promises.

PM Modi also congratulated winners of assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and assured them that the Centre will work shoulder to shoulder for the development of the states.

Before the PM, BJP president Amit Shah hailed the victory as a victory of the people.

Beginning his speech with ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, Shah said that the mandate reflected the victory of the policy of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ and PM Modi’s popularity.

Underlining the achievements of the BJP-led government from 2014-2019, Shah highlighted the massive electoral victories secured by the party in various states.

“We had told party workers that they’ll have to get on the field to fight the battle of 50%. I can proudly say that in 17 states, people blessed us with more than 50% votes…On the other hand Congress had to face a crushing defeat. In 17 states Congress got a ‘big 0’,” he said.

At the same time, the BJP president also signalled how important West Bengal was to the party.

“Despite the crimes and atrocities against us, BJP won 18 seats and four of the five assembly seats. This proves that in the coming days, BJP is going to establish supremacy in Bengal,” Shah said confidently.

At the time of writing, the NDA was either leading on or has won 353 seats with BJP leading in 303 – its highest tally ever.

On the other hand, the Congress was staring at another term without securing enough seats to elect a leader of opposition. UPA was leading in 91 seats of which Congress was ahead on or won in only 51.